Arrival of the Fukushima radioactivity plume offshore North America

Bradley Moran, University of Rhode Island
Event Location: 
Event Date: 
Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 3:00pm
Event Type: 
SCMSS Seminar Series


The large discharge of radioactivity into the northwest Pacific Ocean from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor accident has generated considerable concern about the spread of this material across the ocean to North America. This presentation will discuss the first systematic study of the initial arrival of the Fukushima marine radioactivity signal (134Cs and 137Cs) to the eastern North Pacific and continental waters off North America. These results will be compared to ocean circulation model simulations to document the accuracy of model predictions, to infer the range of future levels of Fukushima radioactivity in the eastern North Pacific, and to constrain estimates of radiological impacts on marine organisms. The increase in 137Cs levels in the eastern North Pacific from Fukushima inputs will likely return eastern North Pacific concentrations to fallout levels that prevailed during the 1980s, but does not represent a threat to human health or the environment.

NOTE: A brief presentation will be made on the National Ocean Policy and Implementation Plan before this talk.

Speaker Information

Dr. Bradley Moran is Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. Most recently, he served as Acting Director of the Obama Administration’s National Ocean Council, Assistant Director for Ocean Sciences in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Program Director in the Chemical Oceanography Program at the National Science Foundation. He focused on implementing federal ocean science policy and facilitating interagency efforts and partnerships on a broad range of ocean policy, resource, economic, and national security matters. He also recently served as Co-Director of the Rhode Island NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, and Assistant Vice President for Research at the University of Rhode Island.

His principal research interests include the application of uranium-series and artificial radionuclides as tracers of marine geochemical processes, and fostering economic development and partnerships in energy and environmental research, technology, policy, and education. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and book sections, participated in 68 research cruises (over 1000 days at sea) in the Arctic, Antarctic, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea. In 2007, he envisioned and implemented the nation’s first Masters of Business Administration-Masters of Oceanography dual degree, the “Blue MBA”. Dr. Moran has held several adjunct academic appointments, served as visiting scientist at several international agencies and institutes, and is an Editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans and Editorial Board member of the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering and the Journal of Marine Research.

Dr. Moran has held leadership roles on a number of federal and state committees and initiatives. Among these, he served as Co-Chair of the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology, and on the Science Advisory Board for the Strategic Environmental Research and Defense Program, Department of Defense. As Co-Chair of the Energy and Environment Collaboratory for the Rhode Island Ocean State Consortium of Advanced Resources, he fostered public-private partnerships by identifying strategic opportunities among environment, energy, defense, health, and education sectors. He led the strategic planning of energy and environment initiatives as Co-Chair of the Energy Efficiency Working Group of the Green Economy Network for the Rhode Island Economic Development Council. Dr. Moran conceived and led the Green the Knowledge District project in the City of Providence, securing private and public support that contributed to a prestigious IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Award to the City.

Dr. Moran received a B.Sc. in chemistry from Concordia University, a Ph.D. in oceanography from Dalhousie University, and conducted his postdoctoral research at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.